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  • Writer's pictureevansph2

Thinking About Death

Updated: Mar 29



 

Tom and I have gone a couple of times to the local “Death Café” here where we live.  It is a worldwide organization that has local chapters that have monthly meetings which are just an open forum that allows people to speak what’s on their mind about death.  Our local circle usually has about 30 people in attendance.  The facilitators usually open with a reading or a poem that has something to do with death.  And then we sit in silence until someone has something to say.  Sometimes people talk about friends who are dying or have died – sometimes about pets.  But, most often people speak about their own questions, wonderings, fears, hopes around their own death.

 

This month a retired hospice nurse (who facilitates our group) talked about what she had learned by being at the bedside of several people who have died.  Her observation was that there are four things that people either want or know they “should” talk about when they are dying.  I think they are things we should all be talking about – while we’re living too!

 

1)     To say “I love you”.  I must say that our daughter taught us this shortly after she left home as an adult.  We were not in the habit of saying the words, though we all clearly professed to love one another.  It is a magnitude of difference between assuming everyone knows you love them – and saying “I love you” face to face.  As often as you can!


2)     To say “I forgive you” if there are obvious unresolved situations.  Or maybe to say that I forgive anything you might fear you have done or said or not done or said to me.  Forgiveness is always a welcome thing – on either side of the grave.


3)     To say “I hope you will forgive me” – and go on to name the things you feel concerned about.  Or to say something like, “I know I made many mistakes along the way, and I hope you will forgive the things I did or said that hurt you.”


4)    To say “Goodbye”.  I have sometimes found it hard to say goodbye to someone who is obviously dying – because of embarrassment, or my own fears, or my fear of crying.  But, not to have said it, is probably worse.  And I so hope I will have the presence of mind to be able to say goodbye when I am dying.

 

When it is my turn to die, I also hope I will agree with these words by writer Jan Phillips

 

When I Die

 

When I die,

let them know I

was ready to go

that I’d had enough fun,

sailed enough seas,

smelled enough roses.

 

Tell them I had no regrets,

I laughed all the way

and could hardly wait

to slip through the veil

and see what was next.

 

If they wonder

what advice I left behind

say;  Add some silence to every day.

sit alone in a quiet room

and add some tears of adoration.

 

If they wonder

did I believe in God

tell them every other week

and the rest of the time

I bowed down to Mystery.

 

Let them know

I died saying thanks

and publish my papers

that say what for.

 

When I die, bring out the guitars

and weep for joy

Let wonder run down your ruby cheeks.

 

I’ve folded back into Mind-at-large

and flesh becoming words

that may find your lips in time.

 

~Jan Phillips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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